Whose Line Is It?

For Minnprov, the University’s short-form student improv team, turns out it really doesn’t matter

Illustrator: Katie Heywood

Where can you go for a chance to see two people trapped in a telephone booth, a whale autopsy, and Hogwarts janitors cleaning up the Chamber of Secrets? The answer is a Minnprov comedy show.

The student club performs improvisational comedy, the art of making comedic bits and sets up on the spot. Contrary to stand-up comedy, the students act without preparing lines ahead of time. Their shows consist of various improv games designed to create funny situations.

The students aim for high energy and spontaneity, creating a show where the possibilities are endless and the scenes are ridiculously funny.

But how do these actors come up with such elaborate ideas, let alone make the audience laugh? Andy Peterson, one of the Minnprov team captains, says the key to improvising is “listening before speaking,” and that bouncing off of what others say is also important.

Imagination plays a big part as well. “If I’m in a scene at the butcher shop,” Peterson says, “I ask, ‘What would a person at a butcher shop do?’ I’m just going to pretend I’m there.”

Team captain Paige Kraemer stresses that performers should always say “yes” to their scene partner’s ideas to avoid creating awkward tension on stage. The students aim for high energy and spontaneity, creating a show where the possibilities are endless and the scenes are ridiculously funny.

“The fear going in is that you’re going to be the one person who looks like an idiot,” senior Max Friedman says. “But in the end, everyone decides to look like an idiot.”

The improv students take “going with the flow” to a whole new level, whether that means playing whale coroners or even a Christmas tree. The end result? Hilarity, and the occasional Harry Potter reference.

 

Minnprov’s next show will be Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in The Whole.